It was a match befitting of a final as both England and New Zealand refused to get rolled over in a gut-wrenching World Cup finale. In what will most likely be the best ever One-Day International played and certainly was the best ever World Cup final played till date, England laid all questions about their fickle temperament to rest with a nervy win after a tied Super Over to lift their maiden World Cup title at Lord’s in a blockbuster Sunday (July 14). This was their moment, and rightly so. Lewis Hamilton’s record win at Silverstone seemed low-key in front of it, the five-set nerve-wracking Wimbledon final failed to pale it as Eoin Morgan and his men lived their moment under the sun and lifted the coveted title at the famed venue.Ben Stokes, the villain of 2016 at the Eden Gardens, redeemed himself to singlehandedly clinch the title for England with an unbeaten knock of 84 first in chase of 242 and then eight in the one-over eliminator. Set 16, Martin Guptill and James Neesham got the equation down to 2 off 1. Guptill was run out on the final ball of the game with scores tied as England won on the boundary count – stroking nine more than their opponents. What an end!New Zealand were forced to live through the scars of the 2015 loss once again but fought a much mightier fight and got a lot closer this time only to be denied by little moments. They refused to present the match on a platter and fought every single moment after posting a challenging score on a tricky surface. England wobbled but still believed. The depth of the batting unit held them in good stead as Stokes and Buttler scored 110 for the fifth wicket to keep the hosts in the hunt.Stokes and Buttler struck half-centuries – bringing the equation down to 46 off 31 at one stage – but it seemed it had all gone pear-shaped because of one moment of madness from the latter. But Stokes believed. He wanted this. As the equation slipped to 22 off 9, Stokes slammed one Neesham delivery wide of long-on. Trent Boult settled under it and took a clean catch. There was more drama though as the pacer then took a step back and stepped on the rope to give England crucial six more. In hindsight, the gam was lost there by the visitors.That wasn’t the end of the drama, though. Stokes found a way to score six off one ball without hitting the ball over the fence. In the final over, Boult started with two dots and then saw Stokes slam a full ball to deep midwicket. The throw came in from Guptill and it deflected off Stokes’s bat to go to the third man fence as Kumar Dharmasena signalled six runs. Two runs outs followed after that as Adil Rashid and Mark Wood failed to make it to the bowler’s end going for the second on both occasions. England needed two off the final ball as Stokes pushed the ball to long-on but Wood’s sprint wasn’t enough as the game got pushed to the Super Over.Things were a lot different earlier in the day for England though. The emotions were all different. With England 86 for 4 in the 24th over, New Zealand were clearly on top. And yet, even with the asking rate over six, Stokes and Buttler chose to deal in singles for most parts of their chase. As the equation came down to 72 off the last ten, with the Stokes-Buttler association standing at 84, there were just six boundaries.
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